Prisoners Records & Photographs are displayed

Prisoner's photographs are from the Usk Prison Release Books (Ref. Q/CG/38, 39 & 40) at the Gwent Archives. Search our Database for a full transcript of these records


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Usk Bridewell & County House of Correction


Over the centuries there have been at least four Prisons in the town of Usk.

The first Prison was in the Garrison Tower in the Castle.

The second Prison, 1570 to the Civil Wars 1642-1648, was in Bridge Street (now known as Gordon House).

Usk's third Prison, was the House of Correction or "Old Bridewell", circa 1642 to 1842, and was an old converted chapel next to the site of a medieval hospital, to take the overspill of Civil War prisoners. This remained as a prison until 1842.

The New House of Correction in Maryport Street was opened 1842 and is still a working prison today.


1788 Report of the Inspectors:

No alteration. The prison and court clean: a pump with fine water: no employment

Numbers of Prisoners:

1774 Aug 21 - Prisoners 2

1776 Sep 6 - Prisoners 3

1779 June 8 - Prisoners 7

1782 Oct 24 - Prisoners 2, Deserter 1.

1788 May 23 - Prisoners 4

UskBridewell21792 Report on Usk County Bridewell:

This Prison was formerly a Chapel. On the ground-floor is a lodging-room for men (21 feet by 7.1/2), and another for women. There are two work-rooms at the top of the house; but I saw no Prisoners there. The Keeper's wife told me that many years ago the Prison was crowded; and herself, her father, who was then Keeper, and many others of the family, had the Gaol-Fever: three of them, and several Prisoners died of it. ["Gaol-Fever" was typhus - a bacterial infection spread by the bites of lice and fleas. Symptoms were severe headache, high fever, muscle pains and accompanied by a red rash, delirium - leading to probable death]. The danger of such a calamity for the future would be much lessened, if proper rooms were built in the keeper's large garden.

The rooms which are now built for the keeper are some small improvement of this prison. There is a court with a pump, The prisoner's allowance, two pence a day. The spinning-wheels, &c. are not provided by the county. The keeper has all the profit of the work.

Keeper's Salary: £21: Licence for beer: clauses against spirituous liquors not hung up. Fees 5s.6d. no Table. This Prison is now kept clean.

1806 Report:

The COUNTY BRIDEWELL at Usk (formerly a Chapel) is now abolished, and consolidated with the County Gaol.



1835 Report: There is a Lock-up House under the Town Hall, consisting of one room, which is occasionally used for safe custody till prisoners can be conveyed to the County Gaol; but more frequently for a shelter during the night for the Irish vagrants passing through the town. The bailiffs and constables are under the control of the portreeve, and the neighbouring magistrates for the county. This Police was described by one of the magistrates as "miserable" - receiving no pay, and being compelled to serve upon appointment, they neither know how nor care to discharge their duties with effect.

1818 Report:

A NEW HOUSE OF CORRECTION at Usk is nearly ready for the reception of prisoners.



1823 November: Inspectors Report

This small prison consists of two day-rooms or wards, with an airing yard to each, and eleven night cells; there is also a large room intended for an infirmary, but now used as a chapel. The female prison, formerly the Bridewell, contains six large rooms, with a spacious yard. The greatest number of prisoners at on time was forty-one; viz. thirty-five males and six females. The number committed in 1822 was 141, viz. 113 males and 28 females. A Chaplain attends twice a week. Irons are not used, except with refractory prisoners. The allowance of food is one pound and a half of bread and one penny per day. A tread-mill is likely to be introduced; at present a hand-crank mill is in use for grinding the flour consumed in the prison. The females are serviceably employed in spinning flax for bedding &c; also in washing and mending the prison clothing.

A few details from the "Keepers Book" dated 1821-1834:

1821 May 4th - Received the Body of Joseph Phillips, Committed by the Rev'd. Thomas A. Williams for refusing to comply with an Order of Filiation made on him for a Bastard Child for the sum of eight shillings. To be Imprisoned for the space of Three Months unless the Debt is sooner paid. Escaped from Prison May 6th at 6 o'clock in the Evening, Retaken May 13th. Escaped from Prison the second time May 15th. The Debt paid May 18th.

1821 May 17th - Received the Body of Mary Hughes of the parish of Tregare, Committed by Rich'd Lewis and W.F. Bury Esquires, for having a Bastard Child, chargeable to the parish of Tregare in the County of Monmouthshire. To be imprisoned for one whole Year. Discharged July 19th 1821 by Rich'd Lewis and W.F. Bury Esquires.

1821 June 7th - Received the Body of William Husband, a Foreigner, Committed by C.H. Leigh Esquire, for wandering about and begging. To remain in Prison until due course of Law. Discharged by the Court at the last Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at the Town Hall at Usk in the County of Monmouth on Monday July 9th 1821.

1821 June 9th - Received the Bodies of Phillip and Joseph Still (alias) Thomas Macklow and Isaac Bonner, Committed by the Rev'd William Powell, Clerk for wandering about and in Alehouses, not giving a good Account of themselves, to remain in Prison until the next Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be holden for the County of Monmouth, or until discharged by due course of Law. They both escaped out of Prison together with another Prisoner by Name James Land, on Sunday June 10th, at 8 o'clock in the Evening. The said James Land was Retaken and immediately lodged in the House of Correction, I pursued the other two and with assistance Retook Thomas Macklow about One o'clock the following morning beyond Abergavenny and lodg'd him in a Prison at Abergavenny. from whence he was convey'd to Gloucester Gaol.

1821 July 9th - Received the Body of William Hughes (alias Thomas Molatto) Committed by John Wigginton Esq. Portreeve of the Borough of Usk, for stealing one waistcoat the property of William Roberts of the parish of Trostrey in the County of Monmouth. Remanded to the House of Correction and sentenced to be Imprisoned for the space of six Calendar Months and put to Hard Labour during the said Period. Released from Prison January 9th 1822.

1822 July 4th - Received the Body of Thomas Prosser of the parish of Usk, Committed by James Bar'd Davies, Clerk, charged upon the Oath of James Knight, with having absented himself from the service of the said James Knight, before term of his contract was completed, and without giving the said James Knight proper notice of his intention to do so. To be Imprisoned and kept to Hard Labour for the space of One Month. Discharged July 31st having performed the limited time of his imprisonment.

1823 Feb'ry 25th - Received the Body of Edward Leyson, Committed by Thos Jones Phillips Esqr. Mayor of the Borough of Newport, charged with being a Rogue and Vagabond for that he did wander about as a petty Chapman and Pedlar (not being duly licensed or authorized by Law) and did also beg Alms. And is convicted of the said offences - to be Imprisoned and held to hard labour for the space of one month. Discharged March 23rd 1823 he having performed the limited time of his imprisonment.

1825 December 15th - Received the Body of Dinah Williams, Committed by Charles Morgan Esqr. and James Coles Clerk, convicted of being an Idle and disorderly person, for that she being a common prostitute, did wander in the public highways at the parish of Bassaleg did then, and there behave herself in an indecent manner. To be Imprisoned and held to hard labour for the space of one Calendar Month. Discharg'd Janry 12th 1826. She having perform'd the limited time.

1826 May 25th - Received the body of Walter Richards, Committed by Thomas A. Williams Clerk, charged upon the Oath of Walter Blower of the Parish of Llangwm, with having feloniously stolen, taken and carried away from the Dwelling House of the said Walter Blower, one silk shawl, one Purse containing one Guinea, and Two Crown pieces. To be Imprisoned until he is discharg'd by due course of Law. Tried at the Quarter Sessions held at Usk on Monday July 10th 1826. Found Guilty and sentenced to be imprisoned for the space of two years and kept to hard labour. Discharged July 9th 1828. He having performed the limited time of his sentence.

1827 July 9th - Received the body of William Thomas, of the Parish of Saint Wollos, Committed by William Phillips Esqr. charg'd on the Oath of Thomas Edwards, with having cut down and destroyed the Wood & Underwood, of Sir Charles Morgan, Bart. To be imprisoned and held to hard labour for one Month. Discharged Aug'st 5th 1827, he having performed the limited time of his imprisonment.

1833 Sept 21st - Isaac Jones age 26, labourer of Undy (unable to read), Committed by Thos. Robt. Salusbury Baronet and James Thomas Esq. Charged upon the Oath of David Job of the Parish of Magor in the said County, victualler, with having on the 23rd day of September instant, wilfully and maliciously damaged, injured, spoiled and destroyed two panes of Glass in the Dwelling House of the said David Job, and was adjudged to pay the sum of seven shillings, together with the sum of eight shillings and sixpence for costs. To be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for the space of One Calendar Month - unless the said sums shall be sooner Paid.

1841 October 19th: The Report on the USK HOUSE OF CORRECTION at the Quarter Sessions held at the Town Hall in USK

The Reports of Visiting Magistrates and Officers of the House of Correction at Usk having been considered, it appears to this Court that the provisions of the law have been complied with as far as it has been practicable, and that it is in as good a condition as circumstances will permit. The Magistrates, however, in consequence of the inefficient and ill-adapted state of the present House of Correction to the principle of separation, have come to the determination forthwith of erecting a New House of Correction at Usk, for the use of the County of Monmouth.

1845 The Inspectors Report on THE NEW USK COUNTY HOUSE OF CORRECTION (situated at 7, Maryport Street, Usk) - was first opened to prisoners on 14th July 1843, although at that time in a somewhat unfinished state. Its total cost was £21,173.4s.2d; and from £150 to £200 are estimated to have been saved by the employment of the prisoners on the works towards the period of completion. It stands within the outskirts of the town, on the road to Caerleon, and is a neat building, exhibiting compactness and solidity.

Description of the new prison: The approach to the prison fronts the main road, and is through a pair of gates, which give access to a fore-court, the entrance being on the form of a curve inwards towards the fore-court, with a projecting buttress, built in a castellated form, at each extremity. The prison itself is constructed upon the same principle as the Bath Gaol; that is, it consists of a front and a back building, connected by an intermediate passage. There is only this difference, that the prison for the females is not a continuation of that for the males, but a distinct wing: - the two, however, being connected in various ways. There are 23 female cells; 96 male cells. It has spacious exercise yards and work sheds. The trades of rug and mat making, tailoring, shoemaking, etc., are carried on within the walls, It is lighted with gas, and each prisoner has the benefit of a light in his cell. The chaplain performs duty every morning, and afterwards visits the prisoners in their cells. There is also a surgeon attached to the establishment. The prison contains 200 cells, and is capable of accommodating 150 male and 50 female prisoners. The successive Governors have been Mr. John Merrett: Salary £90; Matron, Mrs Merrett: Salary £10. They were succeeded by Mr. W.H. Bosworth and his wife, at a salary of £200 and £10 respectively. Mr. Bosworth died during his governorship, and Mrs. Bosworth receives a pension of £55.13s. per annum. Captain Alston and General Milman were successively appointed governors, and the management of the prison was then placed by the prison authorities in the hands of Mr. J. Dacey.

Punishments: The number of punishments for prison offences was slightly less in the year 1844-5 than in the year preceding, the totals being 116 and 130 respectively. There being no dark cells, the ordinary punishments are stoppages of portions of the diet and deprivation of exercise. Occasionally handcuffs are used, and sometimes the governor has recourse to the no less absurd than barbarous expedient of making a prisoner stand for two or three hours in one position, with his face towards the wall. The following is an analysis of the offences for which punishments were inflicted in the year ended Michaelmas, 1845, viz:-

Talking and attempting to talk on the treadwheel - 17

Misconduct on the treadwheel - 3

Looking round on the wheel - 3

Insolence and disobedience of orders - 12

Marking dinner-cans &c. - 10

Calling from cell to cell - 8

Calling from one work-shed to another - 8

Knocking at cell wall - 6

Damaging prison property - 6

Marking stall in chapel - 5

Standing on stool to look through cell window - 4

Dirtying bed-clothes and cell - 4

Marking the floor and wall of cell - 2

Misconduct in chapel - 4

Throwing bread over wall of exercising yard - 1

Singing in cell and elsewhere - 6

Marking stall at the treadwheel - 2

Wasting oakum - 3

Concealing money in his mouth, and denying it - 1

Making water in pomp-house - 1

Walking out of his way in going to exercise-yard - 1

Looking back on going to his cell - 1

Making a noise in his cell at night - 2

Throwing gravel over wall of exercise-yard - 3

Refusing to pick oakum - 1

Calling to another prisoner when exercising - 2

Prison staff and their duties: The number of male turnkeys is eight; one of then acts in the capacity of schoolmaster, another as cook, and a third as gate-porter. The cook is allowed the services of a prisoner as his assistant, who, like the general cleaners, has access to the entrance-hall in the octagon. All take the night-duty in turn for a single night; and one, for this reason, is always off duty in the day. There is a tell-tale clock as a check upon the night watchman. Three sleep in the rooms provided for them in the males' corridor. The gates of the corridor, and also of the passage from the octagon, are open all night, so that the watchman can patrol as far as the entrance hall. The keys of the outer gate are delivered to the governor every night at 10 o'clock. During the day an officer is stationed in the wheel-yard, and two (one of whom is the schoolmaster) in each corridor; the others in the lodge and the kitchen. There is but one female turnkey, who also acts as schoolmistress; she sleeps in the females' prison. Considering her multifarious duties she can have but little time to devote to the prisoners' instruction. A scale of fines, to be levied by the governor on the subordinate officers for neglect of duty, has lately been regulated by the visiting justices. The officers wear uniform.

Prisoners dress and appearance: The prison dress is a parti-coloured cloth suit for convicted felons, and a grey one for misdemeanants. There is no distinctive dress, as required by law, for the untried prisoners, who, when they require clothing, wear a misdemeanant's suit. The whole of the untried prisoners in custody at the time of this inspection were so clothed. It was alleged that this was because the state of their own clothes required it, or they themselves were willing; but it is obviously wrong to clothe untried prisoners as convicts. The hair of many of the prisoners was also close cropped; the governor stated, however, that this was never done except in cases of absolute necessity on the score of health and cleanliness.

Prison visiting: Most of the untried prisoners are of a class unable to support themselves, and therefore receive the prison fare. They are allowed to receive the visits of their friends twice a week; convicted prisoners being visited only once in three months.

Classes of prisoners received: Although this prison is nominally a house o correction, prisoners of all denominations, except debtors, are received into it.

Classification: No particular order of classification is observed, nor indeed is this necessary under the separation system of discipline, except for convenience. Generally, however, the untried prisoners are placed in the cells on the ground-floor of the left-hand corridor, and the misdemeanants in those of the galley above; the right hand corridor being, from its proximity o the treadwheel, appropriated to the prisoners sentenced to hard labour.

Assistance on discharge: Assistance to prisoners on discharge is given at the governor's discretion, in sums varying from 6d. to 3s. or 5s.

Exercise: All prisoners, except those in solitary confinement by sentence of the Court, for periods under 14 days, are allowed to take exercise daily, but no regularity appears to prevail as to the amount of exercise allowed; and the governor admitted that it was "sometimes more, sometimes less." though never less, he thought, than half-an-hour.

Sick List: At the time of this inspection the number of prisoners on the sick-list, all slight cases, was nine - five males and four females, including the one recovering from childbirth. In the year 1843-4, there were nine infirmary cases, and in the year following, seven.

Deaths: There have been only three deaths, on being that of an infant eight months old. The others were the result respectively of pleurisy and old age.

Prevailing diseases: The prevailing diseases, if any, are stated by the surgeon to be constipation. diarrhoea, dysentery, and slight cold. Complaints of slight head-ache and slight dizziness, are stated to be not uncommon in prisoners newly admitted; but the cause is readily removed by proper exercise.

Extra clothing: Flannel shirts are provided for such prisoners, employed at treadwheel labour, as are thought to need them; but no extra clothing is furnished to the females when they take exercise in cold weather, although the yards are much exposed. It is, I think, desirable that all men, employed at hard labour out of their cells, should be supplied with flannel shirts, and that the women should have a warm handkerchief or shawl when taking exercise in cold weather. All prisoners are allowed, as was the case in the old gaol, a pair of sheets, and these are washed monthly.

Books: The chaplain inspects all books that are introduced for the prisoners' use. Those constituting the present library of the prison are not exclusively of a religious kind. He also superintends the operations of the schoolmaster and schoolmistress, and examines the prisoners constantly as to their progress, sometimes teaching them himself. Writing and arithmetic on slates, as well as reading, are taught. No prisoner willing to learn is excluded from receiving school instruction, how short soever the period of his or her confinement. All prisoners are taught separately, and not in class. The schoolmaster, keeps a "Progress Book," for the information of the Chaplain. He is required to give five hours of his time, and the schoolmistress two, to the instruction of the prisoners, part of which is employed in reading to those who are sick or in solitary confinement. The Chaplain mentioned one case of decided reformation which had occurred in the gaol, in a woman of depraved character from Newport, who was in confinement many months, and who since her liberation had led a respectable life.

Escapes: Two male prisoners effected their escape from this prison a week after it was opened, owing in some measure to the prison being in a state of confusion from the operations of the workmen, and the employment of the prisoners promiscuously with them, but chiefly to negligence on the part of the governor and his subordinates. The two prisoners were employed during the day in clearing and levelling ground near the boundary walls, and at the time when they effected their escape were supposed to be locked in their cells for the night. It was evident that one of the cell doors must have been left unlocked, as it was found so, and no signs of violence were visible; whilst, in the other case, the lock had ben forced back by previously cutting away a portion of the door-post with a stonemason's chisel which was found in the cell. The locks are similar to those at Pentonville, having a double action, but it seems to have been the practice at this time only to single-lock the cells. The escape from the main building was by means of a long ladder which had been left standing against it in such a position as to enable any one to step on to it from a window of an unoccupied room, which was found open. The prisoners ascended the boundary wall by means of a short ladder and a step-ladder of equal length tied together with a handkerchief, their joint length just sufficing to reach the summit of the wall, which ladders had probably been left accidentally by the workmen, the boundary wall is from 18 to 20 feet high; it has several sharp angles. The two men had succeeded in exchanging their own clothes for some belonging to the turnkeys, which they had found in a carpet bag.

Governor visits: The governor visits each prisoner at least once a-day, the female prisoners being also visited as regularly by the matron. The officers do not make a daily report to the governor in writing, as required by the Rules.

Condition of Prison: The prison generally, at the time of this inspection, was in a cleanly and orderly state.

Officers' Salaries, Fees, Emoluments &c. Year ending Michaelmas 1844:

John Merrett, Governor, age 46, apptd. Michaelmas Sessions 1829, Salary per annum - £110.0s.0d, Fees &c. £5.0s.od. (Coal, candles, some garden) Total £115.0s.0d.

Mary Merrett, Matron, age 40, apptd. Michaelmas Sessns, 1829, Total Sal. £30.0s.od.

Charles Mason, Turnkey, age 40, apptd. April Sessions, 1839, Sal. £46.16s.0d, Fees &c. £5.4s.0d. (Clothing, coal, candles and furnished room) Total £52.0s.0d.

Edward Harford, Schoolmaster, age 34, apptd. July Sessions, 1842, Sal. £46.16s.0d. (as above) Total £52.0s.od.

James Boulton, Surgeon, age 30, apptd. Trinity Sessions, 1842, Sal. £80.0s.0d, Fees &c. £3.3s.0d. (21s each inquest, 3 deaths) Total £83.3s.0d.

Kenyon Homfray, Chaplain, age 30, apptd. April Sessions, 1843, Total Sal. £200.0s.0d

Peter Norval, Turnkey age 30, apptd. July Sessions 1843, Sal. £46.16s.0d, Fees &c. £5.4s.0d. (Clothing, coal, candles, and furnished room), Total £52.0s.0d.

Thomas Budding, Cook & Turnkey, age 38, apptd. July Sessions 1843, [Salary &c as for above Turnkey]

John Brain, Turnkey, age 33, apptd. October Sessions 1843, [Salary &c as for above Turnkey]

Thomas Skipp,Turnkey, age 40, apptd. February Sessions, 1844, [Salary &c as for above Turnkey]

Anne Tyler, Turnkey & Schoolmistress, age 28, apptd. February Sessions 1844, Sal. £26.0s.0d, Fees &c. £1.10s.0d, (Coal, candles, and furnished room), Total £27.10s.0d.

Thomas Powell, Turnkey, age 32, apptd. May Sessions 1844, Sal. £46.16s.0d, Fees &c. £5.4s.0d, (Clothing and ditto) Total £52.0s.0d.

Mark Matthew Perkins, Turnkey, age 35, apptd. June Sessions 1844, [Salary &c as for above Turnkey]

Total Number of Officers - 14; Total Salaries - £671.3s.0d

Total Expenses for the Prison for the Year 1844, including Repairs, Alterations, and Additions, and excluding Receipts and Fees: £1,712,7s,8.1/4d

Note: The cost of each prisoner for the last year is 1s.3d. per day.


1843-45 Governor Merrett - brought before the Magistrates for Incompetency charges:

In a report dated 26th December 1843, being six months after the opening of the new prison, the Visiting Justices state as follows: - "The visiting magistrates, under a strong sense of the difficulties they have to contend with in the discipline and management of the new prison, feel it to be their duty to state their opinion to the court that Mr. Merrett, the governor, does not possess the qualifications requisite for the government of a prison of the construction, and managed according to the separate system; and knowing the peculiar qualifications of Mr. Barrett, the governor of the County Gaol (Monmouth), for the duties of the new prison, they very respectfully but earnestly recommend to the consideration of the court an exchange of the governors, which they feel confident would be attended with great advantage to the county."

The exchange suggested did not, however, take place and Mr. Merrett continued in his post of governor at Usk.

These charges were later revived in 1845 and subsequently the following charges were made against him:

1st. Neglect of duty in allowing the female turnkey to keep the key, by day and night, of the ward leading to the females' cells.

2nd. For allowing the male turnkeys to have a key which would open the females' cells.

3rd. For retaining in the gaol the turnkey who is supposed to be the father of a child of which H.L. was the mother.

4th. For not reporting the fact of the female turnkey being pregnant, to the visiting justices.

5th. For employing prisoners in his service, in shoe-making, tailoring, and gardening, contrary to the prison rules.

6th. For employing a prisoner under sureties in his house.

7th. For being frequently intoxicated.

…. upon looking again into the case in depth, on 10th Oct 1845, it was recorded by the magistrates :- "We record with regret our opinion that Mr. Merrett does not possess those qualifications which are essential to the efficient management of the present house of correction". The above report, together with the evidence, was eventually submitted and received at the Epiphany Sessions, held on 5 Jan, 1846, and a resolution having thereupon been moved: - "That Mr. Merrett, the governor of the house of correction at Usk, having been found not to possess those qualifications which are essential to the efficient management of that prison, be forthwith removed from his office, -" but the same was negatived. Mr. Merrett, therefore, still retains his office …. a situation of high trust and responsibility, for which he has been formally declared unfit by those who have the best opportunities of judging of his qualifications.


1850 Prisoners in the USK HOUSE OF CORRECTION

on the 17th September


Received - rec.; Committed - c.; Tried at Assizes - Ass.; Tried at Sessions - Sess.; calendar months - cal.m.; Transportation - Trans.; Hard Labour - H.L.


Search the Database, for Calendars of Prisoners 1845 - 1850 to possibly identify some of the prisoners listed below. [JD]

Male Convicted Prisoners:

J.S, age 33, Stealing money, c. 23 Nov 1848, Sess. 1 Jan 1849, 7yrs Trans.

R.H, age 31, Stealing money, c. 8 Nov 1849, Sess. 31 Dec 1849, 9cal.m. HL

J.M, age 24, Stealing cloth, c. 13 Nov 1849, Sess. 31 Dec 1849, 12cal.m. HL

M.J, age 26, Housebreaking, c. 19 Nov 1849, Sess. 19 Dec 1849, 12cal.m. HL

T.H, age 29, Stealing saddles, c. 23 Nov 1849, Sess. 31 Dec 1849, 12cal.m. HL

T.B, age 27, Stealing five lambs, c. 14 Dec 1849, Sess. 31 Dec 1849, 12cal.m. HL

W.T, age 38, Stealing lead, c. 24 Dec 1849, Sess. 31 Dec 1849, 12cal.m. HL

W.J, age 21, Stealing a colt, c. 22 Nov 1849, Sess. 31 Dec 1849, 12 cal.m. HL

J.M, age 22, Uttering base coin, c. 30 Jan 1850, Sess. 18 Mar 1850, 6cal.m. HL

J.W, age 25, Housebreaking, c. 5 Feb 1850, Sess. 18 Mar 1850, 6cal.m. HL

W.P, age 23, Stealing wearing apparel, c. 27 Feb 1850, Sess. 18 Mar 1850, 12cal.m. HL

P.C, age 17, Stealing wine &c., c. 22 Jan 1850, Sess. 18 Mar 1850, 7yrs Trans.

H.J, age 18, Stealing a watch &c., c. 13 Apr 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 3cal.m. HL

W.M, age 36, Stealing a turkey, c. 20 Apr 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 3cal.m. HL

J.O, age 40, Stealing beer, c. 8 May 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 3cal.m. HL

W.J, age 23, Stealing porter, c. 3 Jun 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 3cal.m. HL

B.V, age 30, Stealing iron, c. 29 Jun 1850, Sess. 3 cal.m. HL

J.P, age 21, Stealing shoes, c. 27 May 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 3cal.m. HL

W.D, age 17, Stealing a coat &c, c. 5 Jun 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 4cal.m. HL

E.J, age 29, Stealing coal, c. 8 Jun 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 4cal.m. HL

J.G, age 42, Stealing cloth, c. 15 Apr 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 6 cal.m. HL

C.P, age 29, Stealing sovereigns, c. 8 May 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 6cal.m. HL

J.W, age 37, Stealing shoes, c. 27 May 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 6 cal.m. HL

E.L, age 21, Stealing coal, c. ? Jul 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 6cal.m. HL

T.E.V, age 30, Assault - a misdemeanant of the 1st Division, surrendered in Court, Ass. 3 Aug 1850, 6cal.m. imprisonment

T.B, age 37, Uttering base coin, c. 30 Apr 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 12 cal.m. HL

E.J, female, age 17, Stealing handkerchiefs, c. 2 Jul 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 3cal.m. HL

E.K, female, age 28, Stealing cloth, c. 16 Apr 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 4cal.m. HL

C.K, female, age 24, Stealing a watch, c. 27 May 1850, Sess. 1 Jul 1850, 6cal.m. HL

W.P, age 27, Using threats, c. 12 Feb 1850, Summarily 12cal.m. or find sureties

J.T, age 25, Rogue and vagabond, c. 24 Jun 1850, Summarily 3cal.m. HL

J.W, age 31, Bastardy, c. 26 Jun 1850, Summarily 3cal.m. or pay £3.2s.

W.S, age 23, Assault, c. 6 Jul 1850, Summarily 3cal.m. or pay £5.

J.S, age 27, Assault, c. 6 Jul 1850, Summarily 3 cal.m. or pay £5.

G.J, age 28, Rogue and vagabond, c. 3 Aug 1850, Summarily 3 cal.m. HL

J.H, age 23, Assault, c. 10 Aug 1850, Summarily 6wks or pay £4.

J.W, age 49, Using threats, c. 12 Aug 1850, Summarily 6cal.m. or find sureties

G.B, age 22, Bastardy, c. 16 Aug 1850, Summarily 3m or pay £2.17s.6d.

J.B, age 26, Leaving his employment, c. 21 Aug 1850, Summarily 1cal.m. HL

T.P, age 49, Leaving his employment, c. 21 Aug 1850, Summarily 1cal.m. HL

E.S, age 27, Idle and disorderly, c. 21 Aug 1850, Summarily 1cal.m. HL

W.T, age 55, Idle and disorderly, c. 24 Aug 1850, Summarily 1m. HL

J.C, age 41, Assault, c. 24 Aug 1850, Summarily 28 days, or pay £2.2s.6d.

D.C, age 11, Stealing money, c. 26 Aug. 1850, Under the Juvenile Act 1cal.m. HL

W.P, age 27, Idle and disorderly, c. 29 Aug 1850, Summarily 1cal.m. HL

J.B, age 60, Idle and disorderly, c. 4 Sept 1850, Summarily 1cal.m. HL

A.M, age 12, Assault, c. 5 Sept 1850, Summarily 14 days, or pay 11s.6d.

J.A, age 48, Idle and disorderly, c. 10 Sept 1850, Summarily 14 days HL

R.W, age 38, Rogue and vagabond, c. 10 Sept 1850, Summarily 1cal.m. HL

S.C, age 21, Stealing underwood, c. 13 Sept 1850, Summarily 21days HL, or pay 20s

W.T, age 27, Using threats and intimidations, c. 13 Sept 1850. Summarily 2 cal.m. HL

D.J, age 30, Idle and disorderly, c. 13 Sept 1850, Summarily 1 cal.m. HL

J.P, age 26, Stealing cabbage, c. 16 Sept 1850, Summarily 21 days HL

T.C, age 50, Assault, c. 16 Sept 1850, Summarily 14 days HL, or pay 20s

W.M, age 19, Idle and disorderly, Summarily 1m. HL

Female Convicted Prisoners:

J.B, female, age 12, Stealing coal, c. 11 Jul 1850, Under the Juvenile Act 3 cal.m. HL

M.P, female, age 17, Idle and disorderly, c. 19 Aug 1850, Summarily 1 cal.m. HL

J.G, female, age 19, Riot, c. 19 Aug 1850, Summarily 2 cal.m. or find sureties

J.P, female, age 20, Riot, c. 19 Aug 1850, Summarily 2 cal.m. or find sureties

A.J, female, age 23, Idle and disorderly, c. 29 Aug 1850, Summarily 1 cal,m, HL

H,G, female, age 21, Idle and disorderly, c. 29 Aug 1850, Summarily 1 cal,m, HL

M.L, female, age 25, Disorderly, c. 29 Aug 1850, Summarily 6 wks or pay 18s.

E.J, female, age 30, Idle and disorderly, c. 10 Sept 1850, Summarily 10 days HL

C.M.C, female, age 18, Reputed thief, c. 12 Sept 1850, Summarily 1m HL

M.A.R, female, age 20, Assault, c. 16 Sept 1850, Summarily 14 days, or pay 16s.6d.

H.I, female, age 30, Selling beer without a licence, c. 16 Sept 1850, Summarily 1m, or pay £5.13s.6d.

E.J, female, age 21, Selling beer without a licence, c. 16 Sept 1850, Summarily 1m. or pay £2.19s.

M.P, female, age 30, Assault, c. 16 Sept 1850, Summarily 14 days, or pay 7s.6d.

Male Prisoners for Trial on 17th September 1850

J.J, age 22, Stealing shirt and stockings, c. 13 Aug 1850 for Sessions

J.H, age 22, Embezzling money, c. 14 Aug 1850 for Sessions

J.B, age 25, Highway robbery, c. 17 Aug 1850 for Sessions

W.D, age 21, Stealing shoes, c. 19 Aug 1850 for Sessions

J.P, age 47, Stealing fowls, c. 20 Aug 1850 for Sessions

W.B, age 73, Stealing malt, c. 23 Aug 1850 for Sessions

G.M, age 24, Obtaining goods by false pretences, c. 27 Aug 1850 for Sessions

J.D, age 17, Stealing rope, c. 27 Aug 1850 for Sessions

G.E, age 24, Stealing a coat, c. 27 Aug 1850 for Sessions

P.P, age 26, Killing a sheep, c. 28 Aug 1850 for Sessions

W.P, age 19, Killing a sheep, c. 28 Aug 1850 for Sessions

W.L, age 23, Stealing from the person, c. 28 Aug 1850 for Sessions

J.E, age 35, Stealing a watch, c. 29 Aug 1850 for Sessions

W.C, age 38, Obtaining goods by false pretences, c. 30 Aug 1850 for Sessions

W.E, age 21, Stealing clothes, 3 Sept 1850 for Sessions

T.W, age 22, Stealing a watch &c, c. 5 Sept for Sessions

J.B, age 21, Stealing stockings, c. 9 Sept 1805 for Sessions

E.B, age 17, Stealing stockings, c. 9 Sept 1850 for Sessions

W.E?, age 59, Stealing geese, c. 16 Sept for Sessions

J.E, age 28, Stealing geese, c. 16 Sept 1850 for Sessions

Female Prisoners for Trial on 17th September 1850

E.M, female, age 21, Stealing a watch, c. 9 Aug 1850 for Sessions

L.J, female, age 43, Stealing a watch, c. 29 Aug 1850 for Sessions

S.A.H, female, age 27, Stealing a watch, c. 29 Aug 1850 for Sessions

M.D, female, age 30, Stealing coal, c. 6 Sept 1850 for Sessions

M.C, female, age 40, Passing base coin, c. 13 Sept 1850 for Sessions


1850 Report on the Usk House of Correction:

The following is a statement of the whole accommodation of the prison:

Certified cells for male criminals: 96

Certified cells for female prisoners: 21

Reception-cells for males: 6

Reception-cells for females: 6

Itch-cell: 1

Dark cell: 1

Rooms for 1st class male misdemeanants: 3

Rooms for 1st class female misdemeanants: 3

Hospital for females: 1

Cleanliness: The Prisoners are frequently admitted from the several county Lock-up Houses in a very filthy condition, and it was stated that, although the greatest pains are taken to wash them on admission, the vermin continue to infest them long afterwards. It is difficult to perceive any cause for this, unless it be ascribed to their being required to wear their own clothes before trial. The means of personal cleanliness are defective, no water being laid on to the cells, which is the more necessary in prisons on the Separate system, as no other part is set aside in them for the purpose of personal ablution. Each prisoner has a bath once a month.

Clothing and Bedding: All prisoners sleep in hammocks, and the bedding allowed is very good and sufficient, including a pair of sheets to each prisoner; a single prisoner complained that he was only allowed one, but I found upon enquiry that he had torn the other to pieces. The convicted prisoners are all clothed in a prison dress, but it is bot allowed to any of the untried, unless their own is quite unfit to be worn. This rule seems to require reconsideration.

Diet: The diet recommended in December, 1849, by the Secretary of State, has been adopted in this prison, and is regarded as a great improvement upon that previously in use, from its having extended the periods for which the lowest formula is prescribed.

Health: The surgeon visits the prison at least three times a week, and generally with much greater frequency; he is sent for to examine prisoners on reception, and also sees those under punishment for prison offences. Once a month he makes a minute inspection of the prison, visiting every prisoner in his cell, and examining all the other parts of the prison. In the autumn of 1848 many cases of small-pox occurred, and in the last year a single case of cholera, which was fatal in a few hours. In the prison journal it was reported that the prisoner G.E., committed for 14 days for an offence at the Chepstow Union Workhouse, was taken ill the same night, and died on the 27th. The coroner attended on the morning of the 28th and sat with the jury in a room in the governor's house, and agreed to a verdict of Asiatic cholera, without either the coroner or jury having entered the prison, or viewed the body. There is scarcely any sickness, and none of a serious character, at the time of my visit. A solitary case on insanity has occurred in the prison since it was opened seven years ago, but the surgeon is decidedly of opinion that this man was insane on his admission. In going around the prison with the surgeon I saw and examined a man who had behaved in a very eccentric and violent manner, but I came to the conviction which the surgeon had previously arrived at, that the individual was feigning for the purpose of procuring his liberation. It is my duty in this place to allude to the instances, which are by no means unfrequent, of prisoners being brought from the Lock-up Houses of Chepstow and Abergavenny suffering from illness induced by the dampness and unhealthiness of those places of detention, and also to the disgraceful state of drunkenness in which the prisoners are sometimes brought by the officers having custody of them. The following are a few if those examples:

22 Sept 1847, A.G., aged 40, was brought from Abergavenny so drunk that she fell out of the cart.

19 Nov 1847, S.M., aged 22, was admitted in a state of severe illness from a cold caught in the police station; she was ill during the whole of her stay in prison, and was carried on a bed to receive sentence.

11 Dec 1847, H.D., aged 18, was also admitted, suffering severely from the effects of damp in the police station.

5 April 1848, W.D., was brought into the prison suffering sickness, the consequence of being allowed to get drunk on the road.

In the course of one year 42 prisoners were admitted suffering from catarrh, contracted in the Lock-up houses.

Chaplain: In his Report to Quarter Sessions at Michaelmas last, the chaplain makes the following very just remarks on the inconsistency of the management of prisoners awaiting their trial: "The practice of keeping all the prisoners together in the same small room, in waiting for their trial at Quarter Sessions, tends to produce a bad effect upon their minds, and to counteract any previous good that might have been done to the, Good resolutions, which have been months in forming, have, to my knowledge, been totally effaced by one day's evil communication in this way with older and hardened offenders."

Punishments: The punishments for the last year have not been very frequent, but the majority have been of a severe character, 46 out of 67 having consisted in confinement in the Dark Cell for periods of varying duration. The remaining 21 have been punished by stoppage of Diet.

Labour: The Treadmill is the principal instrument of labour: it produces no useful result, although it might without difficulty be made to raise water for the prison. Nearly all the convicted prisoners are sentenced to hard labour, and of these, at the time of my inspection, many were employed in picking oakum, some in pumping water for the prison, one in mending hammocks, and one in repairing shoes. The prisoners are never taught any trades; a few were formerly taught mat-making, but this has been discontinued, as there is no demand for the products of their labour.

Debtors: No Debtors are received at this prison

Observations: I would suggest that light of some kind should be introduced into the cells, in order to avoid the very objectionable practice of shutting the prisoners up without employment for so large a part of the 24 hours as is now done, especially in winter. If this were accomplished, a regular hour might be fixed for retiring to rest, and much school instruction, or work, if it could be procured for them, might previously be given to the prisoners in their cells, instead of as present, allowing from 12 to 16 hours of rest in bed. Perhaps the most economical mode of bringing this about would be to manufacture gas on the premises; but of this the magistrates would be best able to judge.

Staff: The Staff of the prison consists of the Governor, Matron, Chaplain, Surgeon, seven male and two female Turnkeys, Watchman and Engineer. The duty of Schoolmaster is done by one of the Turnkeys.

Expenditure: The annual expenditure amounted, by the last account, to £1,827.12s.7d., the following being some of the principal items in round numbers:

Salaries and pensions: £883

Prison Diet: £468

Clothing and bedding: £18

Fuel, light, and soap: £120

Removal of prisoners for trial: £271

Repairs: £26

Sundries: £147

The receipts have been £474.14s.8d of which £62.5s.9d has been gained by prisoners' labour, and £400.7s.2d has consisted of repayments by the Treasury for prisoners' maintenance and the removal of Transports.

The Total number of prisoners:

1849: 699 (205 Female, 904 Male);

1850: 642 (211 Female, 853 Male)


1854 The Inspectors Report on USK HOUSE OF CORRECTION

Since the date of the last report an addition has been made of 12 to the number of the cells for female prisoners, which, being well warmed and ventilated, and supplied with all the required conveniences, were certified for separate confinement on 1st June 1854. In the same part of the prison an excellent room of moderate size has been made for an infirmary; also a store for prisoners' clothing; safes for the preservation of provisions of female officers, as well as an additional washhouse, which is found to be necessary from the increased number of prisoners and enlarged accommodation of the prison. Twelve new sheds have been erected for prisoners employed in stone breaking and oakum picking; the former being adopted as being an employment in which females are commonly employed in this county, and also from its being peculiarly distasteful to the kind of persons generally committed to this prison. The accommodation afforded by the prison in its present state is as follows:

Certified cells for males - 96

Certified cells for females - 33

Reception cells for males - 7

Reception cells for females - 2

Rooms for first class male misdemeanants - 3

Rooms for first class female misdemeanants - 3

Hospital for females - 1

It will be observed that there is no hospital for male prisoners, the only substitute for which being one of the first-class cells, and this is not as often used as it ought to be from the want of a nurse. At present the only person available in this capacity is the gate porter, and his duties occupy all his time.

Prison clothing & bedding: Since the last report a rule has been adopted, by my recommendation, of allowing prison clothing to untried prisoners to save their own, and I am not surprised to learn that the privilege is highly esteemed by the prisoners in general. The stock of prison clothing, which is all made in the prison, is abundant, and apparently in goof condition. The bedding is very good and sufficient, and sheets are now allowed to all classes of prisoners. The male prisoners generally sleep in hammocks, but there are a few iron bedsteads, chiefly for sick prisoners. The women have some hammocks, but generally bedsteads.

Diet: The diet is now the same which was sanctioned two years ago at Monmouth gaol; it is said to agree well with the prisoners, but I think the omission from it of all autiscorbutic substances, with the exception of milk, is a great objection to it, especially when given to long sentenced prisoners. The articles of food examined by me were of good quality. The water in the prison is very good, and the drainage has of late been much improved.

Cleanliness: There being no water laid on to any of the cells, water is supplied to the prisoners three times a day; they wash their feet once a week, and have a warm bath regularly once a month. They have clean linen as usual once a week.

The following prisoners were in confinement on the last day of my inspection [1854]:

Prisoners for Trial: Male - 12; Female - 7

Convicted at Assizes: Male - 5; Female - 3

Convicted at Sessions: Male - 36; Female - 29

Convicted Summarily: Male - 19; Female - 10

Total on that day: 100

Number of Criminal Prisoners in confinement in the course of the Year, ending Michaelmas 1853:

Total 843: (243 Females, 600 Males)

Young female prisoners: I was much struck with the large proportion of the female prisoners who were under 16 years of age, and several of them very young children, I would gladly have removed to some reformatory school, had I been able to find room in any establishments of that nature, but I failed in my endeavour which was much to be regretted, as several of their cases presented particulars of a very pitiable kind. Three cases of adult young women and one of the other sex, who have been removed within the last two years to the Refuge for the Destitute at Dalston, the Penitentiary in Magdalen Lane, Bristol, and Mr. Nash's Reformatory in Westminster have turned out very satisfactorily, and are likely to become respectable members of society.

Total Expenditure and Receipts in the Year ending Michaelmas 1853:

Expenditure: £2,044.8s.0d

Receipts £480.17s.5.3/4d (including amount received from the Treasury for maintenance of convicted prisoners £410.8s.9.3/4d. and for removal of Transports £19.9s.0d)

1865 The title of the "Usk House of Correction" changed to "Her Majesty's Prison, Usk".

1869 -1870 Inspectors Reports on Usk County Prison

The following prison conditions and diet etc. would have applied to those Prisoners listed in the 3 Prison Receiving Books (these books contain photographs and descriptions of each prisoner, and are to be found in our Searchable Database)


For Criminals

Cells certified: Males - 155, Females - 54; Total 209

Punishment cells certified: Males - 1, Females - 0; Total 1

Reception cells certified: Males - 7, Females - 2; Total 9

For Debtors

Sleeping cells: Males - 1, Females - 2; Total 3

Day rooms: Males - 1, Females - 1; Total 2

Number of Criminals in the Prison on the 29th Sept 1869: 141

Number of Criminals admitted during the year: 1,292

Total 1,433

Total remaining on 29th Sept 1870: 133

Expenditure for the Year:

Average weekly cost of food per prisoner 2s.6d.

Average annual cost after deducting the net profit on prisoners earnings: £21.10s.6d

Total ordinary expenditure of prison including salaries to all officers, &c: £3,231.7s.0d

Provisions and stores are supplied by contract, 30 prisoners have received extra diet by order of the surgeon.

Hard Labour, 1st Class: Treadwheel, stone breaking, and pumping water. The wheel accommodates 27 prisoners, employed thereon 6 hours, and the distance ascended 2,425 yards. At stone breaking the daily task required is one yard.

Hard Labour, 2nd Class: Oakum picking, working at trades, making, mending and washing in the service of the prison.

Value of Prisoners Labour (Cash received and the Estimated Value of Work done for Prison Use):

Males Labour: Cash received - £45.7s.10d; Est.value: £350.0s.0d; Total £395.7s.10d

Females Labour: Cash received - 0; Est.value: £250.0s.0d; Total £250.0s.0d

Total: Cash & Estimated Value - £645.7s.10d

A new wing to male and female apartment has been added. The treadmill and worksheds have been extended, and an additional officer added to the staff of the prison.

Punishment for Prison Offences: Stoppage of Diet: Males - 197, Females - 10; Total 207

Religion: The Chaplain states that the arrangements in operation for affording to prisoners of religious denominations differing from the Established Church are not submitted to him, but those prisoners professing the Roman Catholic religion are reported by the governor to the chaplain, and by direction of the visiting justices the chaplain abstains from visiting any of them, and also from visiting any other prisoner who is under the care of another minister of religion, and is duly visited by him.

Health: The Surgeon visits the sick daily, and other prisoners once a week and oftener if necessary. The prisoners have been healthy. The provisions are of good quality, and the dietary is found sufficient, but not more than sufficient. One prisoner was pardoned on medical grounds, and two lunatics were removed to the Joint Counties Lunatic Asylum at Abergavenny; one was insane before admission, the other became so after.

Clothing & Bedding: These are found satisfactory.


For Hard Labour of the First Class

the following are the prescribed rates of Diet:

Class 1: With or with hard labour. Prisoners confined for any term not exceeding seven days. Males and females the same.

Breakfast: 1 pint of oatmeal gruel.

Dinner: 1 pound of bread.

Supper: 1 pint of oatmeal gruel.

Class 2: Convicted prisoners for any term exceeding seven days and not exceeding one month, with or without hard labour. Males and females the same.

Breakfast: 1 pint of oatmeal gruel and 6 oz. of bread.

Dinner: 12 oz. of bread.

Supper: 1 pint of oatmeal gruel and 6 oz. of bread.

Class 3: Convicted prisoners for terms exceeding one month and not exceeding three months.

Breakfast: Males - 8oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 6oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Dinner: Males - 8oz. Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 6oz. Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Supper: Males - 6oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, 8oz. of bread, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 4oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, 6oz. of bread, half-a-pint of milk.

Class 4: Convicted prisoners for terms exceeding three months. 1st Class Labour and prisoners for Trial:

Sunday and Thursday:

Breakfast: Males and females, same as Class 3.

Dinner: Males - 4oz. of cooked meat, without bone; 12oz. of potatoes; Females - 4oz. of cooked meat, without bone; 8oz. of potatoes.

Monday, Wednesday and Saturday:

Dinner: Males - 8oz. of Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 6oz. of Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Tuesday and Friday:

Dinner: Males and females the same: 1 pint of broth, 6oz. of bread.

Supper: Males and females the same as Class 3.

The broth to contain, per pint, 3oz. of cooked meat, without bone, with pepper and salt. Boys under 14 years of age to be placed on the same diet as females.

Class 5: Prisoners sentenced by the Court to solitary confinement, males and females, the ordinary diet of their respective classes.

For Hard Labour of the Second Class

the following are the prescribed rates of diet:

Class 1 and 2: Same as Class 1 and 2 in 1st Class Labour Dietary.

Class 3:

Breakfast: Males - 7oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 6oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Dinner: Males - 7oz. of Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 6oz. of Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Supper: Males - 5oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, 8oz. of bread, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 4oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, 6oz. of bread, half-a-pint of milk

Class 4:

Breakfast: Males - 7oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 6oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Sunday and Thursday:

Dinner: Males - 4oz. of cooked meat without bone, 10oz. of potatoes; Females - 4oz. of cooked meat without bone, 8oz. of potatoes.

Monday, Wednesday and Saturday:

Dinner: Males - 7oz. of Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk. Females - 6oz. of Indian meal made into porridge with water, half-a-pint of milk.

Tuesday and Friday:

Dinner: Males and females same - 1 pint of broth, 6oz. of bread.

Supper: Males - 5oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, 8oz. bread, half-a-pint of milk; Females - 4oz. of oatmeal made into porridge with water, 6oz. bread, half-a-pint of milk.

Some of the Usk Prison Staff in 1891:

BURTON - prison warder

DOUGLAS, Alexander - prison clerk

GREENING, D. - prison warder

JENNINGS, William - prison warder

LEWIS, George - prison warder

MORTIMER, Charles - prison warder

PROTHERO, David - prison warder

THOMAS, George - prison warder

WILLSON, George - prison warder

WORTH, Abel - prison warder





Executions took place away from the public gaze, inside the confines of the gaol.

1874 James Henry Gibbs - charged with the murder of his wife Susan Ann Gibbs (nee Ingram) whose decomposed body was found in a ditch near Llanrumney, on 3rd June 1874. She had last been seen on the 16th May. He was found guilty and given the Death sentence and was executed at Usk on 24th August 1874.

1878 Joseph Garcia, a 21 year old Spaniard, an ex-convict who had been discharged the previous day from Usk gaol - charged with the murder of a family of five at Llangibby, near Usk on 17th July 1878. William Watkins, his wife Elizabeth and their three young children had been murdered and then their home set alight. He was tried at the Gloucester Winter Assizes and found guilty and sentenced to Death. He was executed at Usk on 18th November 1878.

1892 Thomas Edwards, aged 30 - charged with the murder in Abergavenny of Mary Conelly who had been released from Usk gaol on 16th September. He was found guilty and received the Death sentence. He was executed on 22nd December 1892 at Usk gaol.

1902 Jeremiah Callaghan, aged 42 - charged with the murder of his partner Hannah Shea at Tredegar on 4th October 1902. He was found guilty and received the Death sentence. He was executed at Usk on 12th December 1902.

1909 John Edmunds, a 24 year old collier - charged on two counts: with unlawfully shooting on 20th February, one Cecilia Harris, a 59 year-old widow, of Abersychan, with a gun and cut her throat with a knife with intent to kill and murder her; the second count - that he did feloniously assault Mrs. Harris. Mrs. Harris had miraculously survived the attack and had later identified her assailant, but several months later she suffered a heart attack and died in Pontypool Hospital on 5th May 1909. Edmunds was subsequently re-arrested and charged with "Feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought killing and murdering Mrs. Harris." He was found guilty and sentenced to Death and was executed on 3rd July 1909 at Usk.

1910 William Butler, aged about 68, (a known criminal with many aliases) - charged with the double murder on 13th November 1909, of Charles Thomas age 83 and his 72 year-old wife Mary, at Tank Cottage, Bassaleg. Found guilty and sentenced to Death. He was executed on 24th March 1910 at Usk.

1922 William Sullivan, a 42 year-old tramp - charged with the murder of Margaret Thomas on 26th October 1921 in the Cwmbran area. Found guilty and received the Death sentence, He was executed at Usk on 23rd March 1922.




1877 USK SESSIONS HOUSE - (adjoining the new House of Correction)

The Usk Court House was opened on October 16th 1877 at an approx. cost of £13.500. In the basement are two reception cells, the Gaoler's lobby, passage leading to the dock, a w.c. and heating chamber. On the ground floor are: the Criminal and Civil Court Rooms, with Grand Jury Room and various other rooms for court staff, witnesses etc The docks of the 2 Courtrooms were originally linked by a tunnel to the Prison which is next door.









An early photograph of the Usk Sessions House


Recommended reading:

Hangmen & Hangings at Usk Prison -




All images unless otherwise credited are © MonGenes and may not be reproduced without permission

© MonGenes 2013

The site of Usk’s second
A page from the
William SMITH age 25, sentenced


John MOORE age 25, sentenced
Mary MAHONEY age 60, sentenced
Valentine CURNOCK age 48, sentenced
William RICHARDS age 17, sentenced
Elizabeth MATTHEWS age 18, sentenced
Charles STRICKLAND age 17, sentenced
Cornelius FOLEY age 56, sentenced
Elizabeth PASK age 13, sentenced
Page from the Usk Prisoners
Usk House of Correction in
John DONOHUE age 14, sentenced
William REDWOOD age 40, sentenced
Jane LLOYD age 23, sentenced
John MORGAN age 28, sentenced
Jemima SMITH age 21, sentenced
Charles SMITH age 14, sentenced
Elizabeth ABRAMS age 46, sentenced
Joseph HOLLOWAY age 28, sentenced
Henry CARPENTER age 13,
Usk Prison today - photograph
Ann COX age 24, sentenced
Thomas EVANS age 18, sentenced
Typical prison warder uniform
Martha HANCOCK age 33, sentenced
Henry Pierrepoint 1876-1922
William Marwod
Usk Sessions House in 2013
Searchable Prisoners